The Bataan Amphibious Ready Group (BATARG) with embarked 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) transited the Suez Canal March 13, entering U.S. 5th Fleet’s area of operations.
While deployed to the region, Bataan will conduct maritime security operations and participate in theater security cooperation exercises that help maintain conditions for security and promote regional stability.
U.S. 5th Fleet’s area of responsibility encompasses about 2.5 million square miles and includes the Arabian Gulf, Red Sea, Gulf of Oman and parts of the Indian Ocean.
“Our Marines and Sailors are here to provide a flexible, adaptable and persistent force in the region,” said Col. William Dunn, 22nd MEU commanding officer. “Through commitment to our partner nations, we seek to deter destabilizing activities and uphold lawful maritime order.”
Maritime security operations hone security skills in a maritime environment and assist in the development of counterterrorism and security protocols of allied nations in the region. Security forms the foundation from which stability arises, resulting in global economic prosperity. These operations are designed and implemented to disrupt violent extremists’ illegal activities, such as hijacking, piracy, weapons smuggling and human trafficking.
The 22nd MEU comprises a ground combat element, Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment; aviation combat element, Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 263 (Reinforced); logistics combat element, Combat Logistics Battalion 22; and its command element.
The BATARG is commanded by Capt. Neil A. Karnes, commodore, Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 6, and comprises the multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5), amphibious transport dock ship USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19), and amphibious dock landing ship USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44). The BATARG and 22nd MEU team will provide combatant commanders a versatile sea-based, expeditionary force that can be tailored to a variety of missions, including quick reaction crisis response options in maritime, littoral and inland environments in support of the nation’s maritime strategy.
Bataan is the flagship for the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group and, with the embarked 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, is deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.
Press Release, March 14, 2014, 2014; Image: Wikimedia